Mom Advice

15 Essential Items All Moms Need In Their Car

Recently, I was forced to drive my husband’s car for a few days and I may as well have been driving a spaceship. I didn’t know how to work anything, couldn’t find the right buttons and there were absolutely none of the mom car essential items that I am used to having at my disposal.

It was as foreign as flying a spaceship

You see, my husband’s car is used mostly for commuting back and forth to work. My SUV, on the other hand, is the family car that the kids are in 90% of the time and therefore, the car with all the “stuff” in it.

Most moms have learned the hard way that it pays to have a fully stocked car. The first time you have a kid projectile vomiting in the back seat and nothing to catch it or clean it up with, you make sure to be better prepared in the future.

Of course, there are the obvious mom car essential items that are needed for driving around with kids. But there are also a million little “just in case” things that you might not have thought of adding.

What makes me an expert on mom car essentials?

Well, my daughter was a competitive gymnast for seven years and we spent hours every week driving back and forth to the gym. She did homework in the car, got changed in the car and ate dinner in the car many nights.

Plus, for ten years, my job kept me constantly on the road. I felt like I lived in my car. So I always had to be ultra prepared for any situation.

And I never realized that not everyone keeps their car stocked to the brim until I had to drive my husband’s car and saw how empty it was.

So if you want to have the best mom-mobile around, keep reading, take notes, click on the links and stock up your car!

As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. This is at no extra cost to you and I only suggest items I use and love.

Napkins are the #1 mom car essential item

You absolutely must have a HUGE pile of napkins in your glove box. Or a roll of paper towels thrown in the back. Or better yet, both.

You have no idea how often you will need these when you are out and about. My kids play sports and are involved in lots of other activities so unfortunately, we eat in the car a lot.

It seems like one of the kids is always spilling something. Or someone has mud on their cleats, needs to blow their nose or kill a rogue spider (yes, that has actually happened). We also went through a fun phase with my youngest where he would get carsick if he spent more then 20 minutes in the car.

You get the point – the number one item to have in your car is extra napkins.


I keep a couple of sets of plastic silverware in the glove box too. It’s easy to forget to pack silverware when you are eating on the go. Or sometimes, we will stop to grab a meal and the restaurant forgets to put silverware in the bag.

What could be a messy disaster is easily handled when you have extra silverware in the car.

Snacks are an essential item in a mom car

I’m beginning to realize that this whole list revolves around food.

Granola bars are essential
Granola bars are essential

I don’t know about you, but when my kids or myself get hangry (so hungry that it makes you angry), it is NOT pretty. Having a few easy snacks in the car helps keep the peace and avoid outbursts. It’s amazing how a little snack can tide everyone over until we can get home and make a real meal

Obviously, you want to make sure they are non-perishable, like nuts or granola bars. And try to avoid anything that can melt in the summer heat. If you have ever tried to peel a melted fruit snack off the seat, you know exactly what I mean!

Plus, having snacks on hand keeps us from stopping at fast food restaurants or convenience stores. And that helps us save time and money, which makes me a happy mom.

Phone charger

I use my phone to listen to music or audio books while I am driving, which tends to drain the battery. And I’ll admit it, sometimes when my kids are at practice, I play on Instagram instead of watching them. Shhh . . don’t tell anyone what a horrible mother I truly am!

I also like my kids to have their phone charged if I am dropping them off somewhere. So it is super useful to keep phone chargers in the car and make sure everyone has enough battery life when they need it.

Tide Stick

In my travels, I have found that a Tide Stick is another mom car essential item. These little miracle workers can get out almost every stain!

They will work on your clothing AND the cloth interior of your car. Plus, they are small and extremely portable so you can keep one in the car and one in your purse.

Baby Wipes are another mom car essential item

I don’t even have babies anymore and I still think baby wipes are one of the greatest inventions of all time. Go ahead, try and prove me wrong. You can’t. Baby wipes are a gift from the universe.

Every mom car needs baby wipes
Every mom car needs baby wipes

You can use them to wipe off dirty hands and faces, tame flyaway hairs, get deodorant off your clothes or in place of toilet paper. They are also great for sweaty kids to wipe their armpits or clean off sports equipment before they put it in your car.

Baby wipes can actually help you keep your car clean too. They are great at getting dust and dirt off the dashboard and easily work into small crevices to pick up crumbs.

You can even use baby wipes on your pets to clean off muddy paws or take care of pet hair after they have been in the car with you.

Hand Sanitizer

Another mom car essential is hand sanitizer. It comes in a variety of scents (or unscented) and is the travel size ones are small enough to keep in the car or your purse.

One of my kids is immuno-compromised, so I am a psycho about germs. I have bottles of hand sanitizer stashed in the car, my purse, the kid’s bookbags and a couple of spots in my house.

And again, we eat a lot in the car and after playing sports and touching lord-knows-what all night, I want the kids to clean off their hands before they put anything in their mouth. Hand sanitizer to the rescue!

Room or body spray

Kids can be smelly, especially after a long sports practice. My secret weapon is a body spray in the driver’s side door pocket.

If the athletic odor starts wafting towards me, I spray a little so I can drive without being knocked out by the funky smells. Or god forbid, if someone farts, I can try to combat the smell with something fresh and clean.

Body spray also comes in handy if you have your pets in the car and want to cover up the dirty dog smell.

First Aid Kit

I use the term “first aid kit” very loosely. What I really mean is a couple of band-aids and packets of Tylenol. It’s nothing fancy, but it is useful.

If you want a first aid kit with everything you will ever need, check out this one. Otherwise, throw the band-aids and Tylenol in the center console. I promise the day will come when you will be so thankful that you have them on hand.

Trash bags or grocery bags are a mom car essential

Kids generate a LOT of trash. Do yourself a favor and keep some trash bags or plastic grocery bags in the car to collect it all.

Grocery bags also come in handy for sick kids and muddy sports gear!

Tote bag

You will use this tote bag almost every day! It comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns, is water resistant and collapsible.

A tote bag will hold all the essentials
A tote bag will hold all the essentials

Put it in the trunk and use it to hold all the mom car essential items. Or use it in place of grocery bags or to keep your kid’s sports gear in one spot.

It also makes life easier when you get home after running errands. Just throw everything in there to carry it in the house instead of making fifty trips.


A small, lap blanket is another mom car essential item. This one also comes in a variety of patterns and has it’s own carrying case.

I have three kids, which means it is like Goldilocks and the three bears. One is hot, one is cold and one is just right. Having a blanket handy saves me from listening to fights about the temperature in the car.

Plus, blankets are great to use as a pillow for a quick nap in the car during sports practices or long road trips.

Mints, Gum or a Toothbrush are essential in a mom car

You never know when you will need to freshen up your breath. And these disposable toothbrushes with the toothpaste built in are adorable! They make me want to come up with an excuse to brush my teeth in the car!


I know this one seems crazy, but I read a lot of survival books. Like, probably way too many, end of the world, zombie apocalypse, type of books.

I always tell my husband, “If we get stranded in a blizzard, I have matches in the car so we can start a fire.” You can probably skip this one if you are not a spaz like me.

Spare Change

Again, I like to be ultra prepared so I throw loose change in my center console. This way, I always have quarters for parking meters, the grocery carts at Aldi and tolls.

Car robot

Some of my best ideas come to me in the car. Unfortunately, while I’m driving, I can’t write them down.

This Alexa car adaptar has been a lifesaver for me. It works just like the Alexa in your home and can make lists or set reminders for you. It can also help you with directions or look up facts for homework.

And that’s it – the whole list of mom car essential items! I hope it was helpful for you!

Did I miss anything? Comment below and let me know what you can’t live without in your car.

You might also like:

7 Tips For An Overwhelmed Mom To Find Balance

Easy Checklist For Sleepovers and Overnights

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The 15 things that should be in ever mom car
15 Essential items for a mom's car

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